Power 5 Considering Holding Own Championships

Brock Fritz Headshot

The major players in college athletics are beginning to look at taking control away from the NCAA.

According to Sports Illustrated, the Power Five conference leaders may take matters into their own hands this fall. The top conferences in the country — the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC — are reportedly considering holding their own championships if the NCAA cancels the traditional ones due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This could be seen as a first step toward a long-theorized breakaway from the NCAA by the 65 schools that play college sports at the highest level,” Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde wrote this weekend.

“The NCAA and the Power Five are official adversaries,” according to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd.

Like everything else, college sports this fall are up in the air due to the pandemic that has already caused numerous conferences and schools to alter their athletic schedules and procedures.

Related content: Five Conferences Cancel Fall Sports; WAC, Horizon Delay

The NCAA Board of Governors is expected to decide what to do with fall championships — other than the Football Bowl Subdivision — during its Tuesday meeting. If the governors decide to cancel, which already happened to winter and spring championships, the Power Five could develop a new way to decide champions.

The NCAA doesn’t govern championships for FBS football, which has its own championship controlled by the 10 FBS conferences, ESPN and the College Football Playoff. Yet, the NCAA Board of Governors canceling championships for cross country, soccer, women’s volleyball, field hockey and men’s water polo would make it difficult for the FBS to move forward. Football is the NCAA’s money maker, and losing the 2020 season could mean even more cuts in a system that has been dropping athletic programs since spring.

Related content: Stanford Explains Decision to Cut 11 Varsity Sports

"We're all trying to think, hey, what can we do for our kids, so they have a season and a chance to compete for a championship," one Power Five athletic director said, according to SI. "And, quite frankly, how can we justify playing football?"

Another athletic director told SI that, even though the chances of new fall championships are slim, the fact that the Power Five is looking into them “is representative of the poor relationship between the (NCAA) national office and our conferences.”

Related content: DI Council Cuts Required Number of NCAA Games in Half

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